Your Whole Life Is Going to Bits RRS feed

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  • Your Whole Life Is Going to Bits

    Kareem Tawansi, a Sydney information technology specialist who manages his own software company, has two home computers capable of recording up to five shows at once, and can turn on his air-conditioning and open and close the blinds, even when he is not home. Tawansi keeps all of his appointments, thoughts, ideas, and even his feelings in a digital device that acts a portable computer, organizer, camera, and phone. Gordon Bell is the head of a Microsoft project called MyLifeBits, which aims to record not only significant moments, but the mundane and trivial as well. Every phone call, television and radio program, Web site, and amount of mouse and keyboard activity is recorded. Bell wears a Microsoft SenseCam around his neck, which detects any nearby people and automatically photographs them. The SenseCam also takes pictures anytime Bell enters a new room based on changes in light levels. Bell also carries a portable global positioning system device that works with the camera to log an exact record of every photograph. Microsoft researchers say the ultimate goal is not only to collect all that information, but to continually analyze it as well. This analysis could lead to time management programs that make suggestions on how to be more productive, educational programs that inform parents how their child is doing at school and how they could improve, and health programs that monitor a person health, send notifications if they are eating too much, need more sleep, or if they should see a doctor. Much of the technology for these kinds of programs already exists, but evangelists at Microsoft note potential problems, such as privacy concerns. In Scientific American, Bell and his colleague Jim Gemmell wrote, "Digital memories will yield benefits in a wide spectrum of areas, providing treasure troves of information about how people think and feel."

    Wednesday, April 18, 2007 7:42 AM